Tag Archives: Loni Hancock
The California legislature is now deep in the throes of the state budget process, with the combined senate and assembly conference committee working to reconcile the differences between the legislative budgets and the governor’s. Decisions happen in a rush of committee meetings and votes: both houses need to approve the budget by June 15 and the final budget act and governor’s signature are required by the end of the month.
Berkeley’s own legislators, State Senator Loni Hancock and State Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, are both among their chamber’s four members of the conference committee. So, although no one expects Hancock and Skinner to think about their city’s needs over the state’s, Berkeley represents one-fourth of the decision-making power for this year’s budget. … Continue reading »
Mayor Tom Bates, State Senator Loni Hancock, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, and just about a full complement of Berkeley councilmembers gathered on the steps of the city’s main post office this morning to protest its planned sale.
Bates, Hancock and Skinner jointly signed a letter appealing the decision by the U.S. Postal Service. Bates said it was the beginning of a long fight that will include a lawsuit and appeals to the U.S. Congress.
“We’re not going quietly. We’re going to fight this every step of the way,” Bates said. “We are against it and the people of Berkeley are against it.” … Continue reading »
By Tom Miller
Following Mayor Tom Bates and State Senator Loni Hancock’s December visit to Palma Soriano, Berkeley’s sister city in Eastern Cuba, plans are afoot for a community-built clean water solution for the entire city of 80,000 people.
For the past decade, UC Berkeley researchers have traveled to Palma to work with the community to develop a plan which will blend the deeply spiritual Afro-Cuban based affinity to land and nature with a low-tech, low cost green field sewage treatment plan. The people of Palma’s roots stretch back to Haiti when French slave owners brought slaves to Eastern Cuba when they fled Haiti’s slave rebellion over 200 years ago. … Continue reading »
Bearing 13 indestructible soccer balls, toys, shampoo, conditioner, and a bunch of T-shirts, Mayor Tom Bates and his wife, State Senator Loni Hancock, recently visited Palma Soriano, Berkeley’s sister city in Cuba.
The soccer balls were the biggest hit.
As soon as Bates, Hancock and the four others in their group arrived at Haydee Tamara Bunke Bider Middle School (named after Che Guevara’s translator), they pulled out the bright blue balls made by Berkeley’s One World Futbol Project. Bates started to play with one ball and even threw a few hoops with it, prompting the students to surge down the school steps and out onto the play yard. … Continue reading »
How much will it cost to mail an absentee ballot? It depends who you ask.
Last week, a reader pointed out to Berkeleyside that the mail-in absentee ballot for the November 2012 election requires extra postage, but that the exact amount needed isn’t specified.
“I just filled out my ballot and, when I slipped it all back into the huge envelope and began to mail it, I realized the postage was not prepaid, nor did it say how much it should cost. It only says ‘Additional Postage Required’ and the envelope looks oversized and is fairly heavy for a letter. You might think it’s easy enough to go to the post office and find out, or I could weigh it and then look up the rates online. But these things are a major hassle.”
At Tuesday night’s council meeting, city officials and staff offered some insights to help voters know what to do with their absentee ballots. In Berkeley, the full package involves inserting four separate pieces into the envelope.
City Manager Christine Daniel said the vote-by-mail ballot requires $1.50 in postage, according to county Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald. The city has posted more detailed information on its website about what voters need to know. … Continue reading »
There are 60 different utility boxes in downtown Berkeley and they are all gray. But not for long.
A new civic art project has plans to transform these dull, bleak and utilitarian boxes, which are owned either by the city or by PG&E, into a kalidescope of color and art.
Called the “60 Boxes Project,” the idea is to pair patrons with artists who will paint the boxes or make a design that can be transferred to large polymer stickers and be affixed to the boxes.
“We’ve had a very very positive response to this project,” said Elyce Klein, who is coordinating sponsorships for the group, a collaboration between the Earth Island Institute‘s Streets Alive! program and Berkeley’s Civic Arts Commission. “The quality of artwork on the boxes will be very high.”
A wide range of sponsors have already pledged their support for the initiative, including Berkeley High School, Peet’s Coffee, the Downtown Berkeley Association, numerous private schools, businesses, individuals, public officials, and non-profit organizations — even the city’s Mayor, Tom Bates.
Now the 60 Boxes Projects is putting out a call for artists to participate. They must fill out a form and submit examples from their portfolio. Each sponsor will get to choose their own artist. The theme is “sustainability.” … Continue reading »
Susie Medak has served as Berkeley Rep‘s Managing Director for 20 years. In this video produced by the theater company — more of a roast than a celebration — artistic director Tony Taccone compares his relationship with Medak as akin to the one between Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton from The Honeymooners. They were famously combative. Rita Moreno, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, and State Senator Loni Hancock also share their thoughts.
A couple of items distinguish Mayor Tom Bates’ office from the municipal run of the mill. Among the ceremonial tchotchkes exchanged with foreign mayors, there’s a large bottle of beer labeled AB 3601 and on the wall is a photo of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata. The Zapata image might be more in keeping with a Berkeley dorm room than the mayor’s office, but it’s in the character of the city that a mayor that is seen as a centrist conciliator has a place in his heart for a revolutionary army leader. (The oddly named beer bottle is a tribute to Bates’ leading role in passing Assembly Bill 3601 in 1982 which spurred the brew pub movement first in California, then across the nation.)
It’s clear from talking to Bates that social innovations like AB 3601, or the solar financing scheme Berkeley FIRST, are what really get him excited. He peppers his conversation with references to his long years in the California state assembly, his wife Loni Hancock‘s current tenure in the state senate and — next year — the distinction of being Berkeley’s longest serving mayor.
Berkeleyside sat down with Mayor Bates and his chief of staff, Julie Sinai, last week. The conversation ranged over numerous topics, many suggested by Berkeleyside readers.
Reading some of the questions people would like you to answer, it seems some people attribute to the mayor the powers of a prime minister or a dictator. How would you characterize your powers as mayor?
There’s a nine-member council and I’m a member of the council. As a mayor there are certain innate powers that go with the mayor’s office. First of all the media. The mayor is seen as the principal political person for the city. Second of all, I’m blessed to have the opportunity of having a staff.
I was in the legislature for 20 years, so I have a pension from my time as a legislator. And as such when I came to the mayor’s office I’m not entitled to take a salary as the mayor. So I use that money to have a very talented staff. It keeps me more in touch with what’s going on. And knowledge and information equate to power.
When I came in, I tried to break up the notion of polarized sides that were divided around rent control and other issues. Instead, I thought we should try to deal with problems rather than ideologies. That’s worked pretty well. It’s polarized more in the last couple of years, with councillors [Kriss] Worthington and [Jesse] Arreguin sticking together, but generally we vote all sorts of different ways. It’s not like, “If Tom is for it, I’m against it.”
The other thing that has happened is that, coming from my position as a legislator, I’m used to putting things together. I passed 220 laws and I know how to work across various groupings to make things happen.
Are there things that frustrate you in your role?
The downturn in the economy has really frustrated me. We were doing so many great things and suddenly so many of the initiatives we were going pell mell on have had to be rethought and restructured.
The most important one for me in the one we call the 2020 plan, where we try to deal with the health disparities and the achievement gap. It’s meant that we won’t be able to put the resources and the people power [in place], particularly with our health department being cut back and our mental health department being cut back. We won’t have the resources to do what I’d hoped to do, which is see real results that occur during the time that I’m mayor. That’s been frustrating.
It’s also true that Berkeley is a difficult place in that you have people who are brilliant on every side of every issue. And there’s also a great feeling of entitlement. They’re used to getting what they want. It’s difficult to get people to realize that if you get 95% of what you’re after, you don’t have to fall on your sword for the last five per cent. … Continue reading »
The East Bay Green Corridor‘s first annual high-school job fair launches this afternoon at Berkeley High.
Students will be coming from BHS, El Cerrito High School, Emery Secondary, Oakland Tech High School, Richmond High School, Skyline High School, San Lorenzo High School, Youth Empowerment School and Foothill Academy from the Sacramento area. Each of these schools is developing a Green Career Academy.
“As a result of my bill, AB 2855, career technical high school academies focused on … Continue reading »